Monday, March 9, 2009

Safety In Our Neighborhoods: Firefighters going door-to-door checking smoke alarms

Richard Bowers, Fire Chief Pete Piringer, Public Information Officer
Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, 12th Floor, Rockville, Maryland, 20850
Media Hotline – 240.777.2442

Safety In Our Neighborhoods
Firefighters going door-to-door checking smoke alarms
There has been a significant decline of residential fire fatalities in Montgomery County.
Having a functional smoke alarm is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce tragic deaths and injuries from fire. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire.

Since November 2008 the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) have been checking smoke alarms at least every Saturday afternoon in neighborhoods throughout Montgomery County as part of the ‘Safety in Our Neighborhood’ campaign.

Montgomery County firefighters have visited over 17,000 homes, installed nearly 500 smoke alarms and installed or changed over 600 batteries. The primary focus has been in areas populated with older residents and where residential fire fatalities have occurred. There was a significant decline of residential fire fatalities in Montgomery County. Last year in 2008 there were five (5) residential fire fatalities compared with thirteen (13) the previous year in 2007. All residential fire fatalities have occurred in a non-sprinklered dwelling.

2 – Smoke Alarms and Sprinklers
Fire Chief Richard Bowers notes, "This is a busy time of year for firefighters in this region. The simplest thing a family can do to protect themselves from fire is have a working smoke alarm, on every level of their home, and have fire escape plan."

Recent surveys conducted by fire fighters after serious fires in Montgomery County have found that nearly half, 50%, of the smoke alarms checked did not work. That is alarming! Smoke alarms DO save lives !

Montgomery County residents may schedule a home safety evaluation by calling the Home Safety Hotline @ 240.777.2476.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service recommend that homeowners follow these tips to help prevent fires, deaths, and injuries:
* Install and maintain smoke alarms.
* Develop and practice a fire escape plan.

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning—a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.

Because fire can grow and spread so quickly, having working smoke alarms in your home can mean the difference between life and death. Once the alarm sounds, you may have as few as two minutes to escape. Smoke alarms are the most effective early warning devices available.

Remember, check you smoke alarm and put a finger on it!

The combination of working smoke alarms and residential sprinklers almost guarantees that a family will survive a home fire

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